Russian Sports Minister hopes World Athletics ban will lift in 2022

Anzhelika Sidorova won silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics
Anzhelika Sidorova won silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin is hopeful that his country will get full membership in World Athletics in 2022. The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) was first suspended in November 2015, and the ban was further extended by World Athletics at its virtual Congress on Wednesday.

However, Oleg Matytsin is optimistic that the RusAF is on the right track to fulfill the roadmap set out by the world body.

"Everything is moving in accordance with the roadmap that has been agreed. There has been a positive movement in accordance with this roadmap. There are a number of outstanding points. We see this as the attention of World Athletics and experts to the situation in athletics," Matytsin was quoted by Russian news agency TASS as saying.

Russian athletes have been forced to compete under neutral flags after they were banned following allegations of state-sponsored doping.

"We see a constructive dialogue with [RusAF], and this is a guarantee that we are pursuing one goal. I hope that in 2022 all comments will be corrected. We are looking at this with hope at next year,” he added.

This year at the Olympics, only 10 athletes were allowed to compete in Tokyo. The country was forced to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee flag and won two athletics medals.

Read: World Athletics will continue with testosterone levels rules for transgenders and DSD athletes despite updated IOC’s framework

Maria Lasitskene bagged gold in the women’s high jump, while Anzhelika Sidorova secured a silver medal in the women’s pole vault.

Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President, however, admitted that the uncertainty over the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s status might play spoilsport to RusAF’s progress.

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He refused to predict when RusAF’s suspension would be lifted.

"I cannot make predictions. As I noted, [head of the Working Group on Russia] Rune Andersen has already presented his third report to the Congress, this story has been going on for a very long time," Coe said during the Congress press conference.

World Athletics allows Ulyana Andreyeva to compete under neutral flag

Meanwhile, the World Athletics Doping Review Board has allowed Russian athlete Ulyana Andreyeva to compete under the neutral flag in international U20 competitions. The board approved her application and has confirmed that it has met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in the ongoing season as a neutral athlete.

Edited by Parimal
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